By Rory Reynolds
RECORD numbers of Scots women have been imprisoned in the past year, with a sharp increase in the number of alcohol-fuelled attacks believed to be partly responsible.
The increase in the number of woman being sentenced to jail time has increased nearly 10 per cent on last year.
Drink-fuelled violence on the streets and a sharp rise in shoplifting, linked to the recession, are partly responsible, according to crime experts.
New government figures have shown that 1,025 women were jailed last year, the highest total on record.
Figures showed 484 woman aged 21-30 were sentenced, while the number of women over 50-years-old has risen by four times in the past decade.Dr Kenneth Scott, director of the centre for criminal justice and police studies at the University of the West of Scotland, said that studies have shown that woman have become more assertive and are more likely to commit crimes more traditionally associated with men.
He added: “Woman tend to do things now that they didn’t do in the past, because they are more emancipated.”
Shoplifting and possession of drugs were shown to be the most common offences, while violence was also cited as a factor in the increase.
Professor Peter Duff, a criminologist at Aberdeen University, also said that the recession has left woman struggling more than before, and becoming more likely to offend.
Robert Brown, justice spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats said that the new figures support the growing trend that woman are becoming more involved the male culture of heavy drinking, drug-taking and violence.
He said: “This shows the ladette culture is working itself through to the courts.
“Many of these woman are a danger to themselves rather than the public.”
The Scottish Government has said that there will be greater focus on community service to deal with less serious offences.
One source said: “The proposed introduction of community payback orders will ensure more can serve sentences in the community.”